Chicago SEIU O’Hare workers fired after one-day strike

Chicago SEIU O’Hare workers fired after one-day strike

CHICAGO -- A security firm fired striking O’Hare workers and the union says it's a violation of labor law.

Longtime security worker Sadaf Subijana became a leader in a movement to improve working conditions for low wage staff at O’Hare airport.

“I'd had enough so I decided we should form a union to tell them what we wanted,” she said.

With help from Service Employees International Union, she and others workers went on strike March 31. On the picket line, she talked to WGN.

Fast forward two weeks. Last Friday and Subijana got a letter confirming that she’d been fired. Another worker Marcie Barnett was also terminated.

The security firm that employed them, Universal Security, says they were let go because they made comments to the media that included sensitive security information.

Alderman Carlos Rosa is outraged.

“It was a respectful picket,” he said. “They were simply demanding safe working conditions and a $15 wage and in response the CEO of the company came and fired them personally in front of the other workers. So this was clearly a scare tactic on the part of Universal Security.”

In a statement to WGN, Universal Security said:

In the interests of aviation security and the safety of the traveling public as a whole; neither Universal Security nor any of its guards are allowed, pursuant to contractual and regulatory restrictions, to disclose any information pertaining to aviation security…….Regrettably, any guards who violate their post orders and disclose sensitive security information are relieved of their duties.

Universal Security has not said what the sensitive security disclosure was.

Alderman Rosa says he’s not going to drop the issue. He and some of his colleagues want the two workers reinstated.

“My hope is that Ginger Evans, our Department of Aviation Commission, will take up this fight and will meet with the workers. That is what I and other aldermen called for today at City Hall,” he said.

The Department of Aviation today told us it does not intervene in personnel matters of private companies. However, all vendors are expected to follow the law. The SEIU thinks the termination of the two workers violates labor law.